Southern California environment news and trends

New petition seeks to regulate lead in hunting ammunition

Marc P Jones/Flickr

A golden eagle.

A wide-ranging band of environmental groups have come together to formally request that the Environmental Protection Agency consider banning or limiting the use of lead in hunting ammo. As reported by the New York Times, the coalition argues that lead poisoning is contaminating both wildlife and humans who consume animals killed with lead bullets and buckshot.

"The EPA has taken steps to address toxic lead in almost every available product from gasoline to plumbing to toys," said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity to the Huffington Post. "The one source of lead that is still causing significant lead exposure is hunting ammunition and fishing tackle."

While a similar petition was denied in 2010, Miller believes that this larger and more diverse coalition of groups (which now includes hunting organizations) and more extensive research showing the link between toxic levels of lead in hunting ammo and “significant” poisoning of birds like condors and eagles around the country.


Celebrity moms unite in support of clean air rules

Juliann Moore stars as Sarah Palin in "Game Change" which premieres Saturday at 8pm on HBO


Julianne Moore, seen here as Sarah Palin in HBO's "Game Change", is a member of Moms Clean Air Force.

Actress Jessica Capshaw (best known for her starring turn on ABC drama “Grey’s Anatomy”) is the latest celebrity parent to join Moms Clean Air Force, an organization committed to clean air initiatives. The group’s current priority: The long sought-after Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants recently published in the Federal Register, which limit the amounts of mercury and other toxins the plants can release into the atmosphere. As reported by Fuel Fix, these new standards have come under attack, most notably by Republican Sen. James Inhofe. He’s filed a ruling that seeks to nullify the EPA ruling, which made the standards official last month.

“I’ve joined Moms Clean Air Force to send a powerful message to Washington that there’s only one way to keep poisons out of the air we breathe--and that’s to create strong protections,” Capshaw said in a press release. “It’s time for moms to get the attention of political representatives and remind them that they bear a moral responsibility for cleaning poisons out of our air.” 


Japanese tsunami debris expected to reach California shores

Mercer 19360

University of Hawaii/NOAA

Millions of tons of debris from the tsunami in Japan are washing toward the western U.S. and could make landfall in spring, 2013.

The catastrophic 9.0 tsunami that rocked the coast of Japan last March was more than just devastating. Destroying whole villages and reducing the Miyagi Prefecture down to little more than a pile of rubble, it also swept everything in its path – buildings, cars, boats, furniture and more – out to sea. All of which is heading directly for the shores of the western United States, including Hawaii, Washington and of course, California.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency’s Marine Debris Program, all of that stuff (pretty much anything that floats) started showing up last September when fishing buoys from the disaster washed up here in California. The floating detritus, once moving in huge debris fields, has broken down into millions of smaller pieces headed right in our direction.


Intel Corp is America’s biggest green power consumer, but Walmart is coming up fast

K.Costin Photography/flickr (cc by-nc-sa)

The Environmental Protection Agency has released the latest updates on America’s biggest consumers of green power, and computer chip producer Intel Corp comes in at Number 1.

A full 88% of the electricity consumed by Intel is green, purchased from wind and solar farms. All told, they ate up more than 2.5 billion kilowatt hours of both over last year.

Kohl’s, Walmart, Whole Foods Markets and Johnson & Johnson round out the top 5, with Walmart moving from 15th to 3rd place on the strength of their green power purchases in California and Texas alone (and pushing Whole Foods down to fourth place).

Walmart has plans to add solar panels to another 130 California stores by the end of 2013, so expect their ranking to move in higher in the following years.


New agreement reduces toxic chemicals in California

Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Marc Epstein/Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited

There’s no news like good news, and this definitely qualifies as good news. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the EPA have gotten together to sign an agreement calling for “safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in everyday products”, something we can all feel good about.

The agreement also covers creating new job and business opportunities as a result of these alternative measures.

“This is a major step in protecting Californians from unnecessary chemicals in everyday consumer products,” DTSC’s Director Debbie Raphael said via press release. “The innovative spirit of this partnership also signals that government agencies can pool resources in a challenging fiscal environment to better serve the public.”

We’re getting it bad enough from the greenhouse gasses – it would be nice to see some relief in the form of less scary stuff in our reusable cups or whatever…